Program Goals/Target Population
The Indianapolis (Ind.) Violence Reduction Partnership (IVRP) was created in response to high levels of gun-related homicides in Indianapolis during the 1990s. It was a replication of the “Project Ceasefire” initiative by the Boston (Mass.) Police Department, which simultaneously held meetings with gang members to communicate a message of deterrence and launched a gang crackdown. Inspired by the success of the Boston initiative, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department created its own version of the program in 1998. The program used a specialized approach to reduce gun-related violence among those most at risk for offending, mainly gang-involved chronic offenders who used illegal firearms.
Program Components/Key Personnel
The program was comprised of three stages: identification, implementation, and outreach.
Identification. During this identification stage, research was conducted to find out details about the homicide problem in Indianapolis, including identification of key offenders and patterns of offending.
Implementation. During this stage, “pulling lever” meetings were held with probationers and parolees. In these meetings, a message of deterrence was communicated, along with the consequences of violating the law. These offenders were encouraged to take advantage of community services, such as mentoring, employment, housing, education, and vocational training. These meetings spread the message that violence will not be tolerated and that there are opportunities for these offenders to turn their lives around. The meetings were accompanied by crackdowns of local gangs to illustrate the message of deterrence and zero tolerance for violence.
Outreach. This stage depended upon the participation of community partners. Meetings were held to come up with ideas to supplement the program, and neighborhood leaders, social service providers, and ex-offender mentors were recruited to participate.
Throughout all stages of the program, collaboration with community partners, criminal justice agencies, and research associates was necessary to tailor a specialized solution to the problem of gun violence in Indianapolis.
The idea behind the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership was based on the “pulling levers” deterrence strategy. Through this strategy, research on patterns of crime in the community is used to create a tailored intervention to tackle a specific problematic criminal activity. In Indianapolis, the pulling levers approach was used to combat the issue of gun homicide among chronic offenders. Research was used to identify chronic offenders most at risk for committing violence, and these offenders were called in for pulling lever meetings. During these meetings, the message made clear was that if violence was committed, the appropriate sanctions, or “levers,” would be applied, or “pulled.”
McGarrell, Chermak, Wilson, and Corsaro (2006) found that monthly homicides were reduced by 34.3 percent in
Homicide in 6 Other Cities
With the exception of
Corsaro and McGarrell (2009) found that gang-related homicides declined by 38.1 percent following the IVRP intervention; this decline was proved to be statistically significant.
Non-gang-related homicides declined by 8.6 percent following the IVRP intervention, but this decline was not statistically significant. The reduction in homicides was more evident in gang-related homicides than non-gang-related homicides in magnitude and significance, adding further support that IVRP led to a reduction in gang violence in Indianapolis.
Homicides Involving 15- to 24-Year-Olds
Corsaro and McGarrell (2010) determined that this age group was at the highest risk for committing violence and was also most likely to experience a statistically significant and substantive reduction in homicides rates after the intervention. Following the intervention, homicide incidents involving 15- to 24-year-olds were found to be 48 percent of the preintervention rate; they declined from 28.8 homicides per 10,000 at-risk population to 12.8 homicides per 10,000 at-risk population.
The highest-risk populations were African American and white males aged 15 to 24, and these rates declined at a greater rate than homicides involving all other populations between pre- and postintervention periods. After the intervention, African American male homicides were 41 percent of the preintervention rate, declining from 145.2 to 54.1, while white male homicides were 81 percent of the preintervention rate, declining from 17.9 to 4.5. African American female homicides and white female homicides also declined substantially, but these results were not found to be statistically significant.
Target Area Homicides
Postintervention target area homicides were 67 percent of their preintervention rate. Homicide rates among 15- to 24-year-olds in these areas declined from 150.9 to 33.5 per 10,000 people. In comparison, other high-risk neighborhoods in the city had significantly higher rates of homicides involving 15- to 24-year-olds.
Homicides Among Remaining
Homicides involving the remaining